Roots growing into well wall

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Lisa B., Aug 19, 2006.

  1. Lisa B.

    Lisa B. Member

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    We have a well that is fed by spring water. The cistern is comprised of three tiles stacked on each other. They are about 4 feet tall each. Where the bottom tile and the 2nd tile connect, I have roots growing in. This in turn has caused me to loose quite a bit of water and we keep running out of water. This happened a couple of years ago to the upper tiles and we had to dig down on the outside to kill the weeds and then used a special concrete that hardens quickly and withstands water to seal the inside. It looks like we may not have sealed very well at the bottom tile area. Now my question.

    Do we have to dig down on the outside again (this is mainly root and rocks - took about 3 hours to dig less than 1 1/2 feet last time :( ). Is there a root killer that we can apply to the joints on the inside to kill the roots that will be safe for us? Should I just scrape the roots from the inside and then seal really well or what? If we have to dig down, I am afraid that we will have to hire a heavey equipment to come in because of how hard the ground is. I am hoping that I can scrape the roots on the inside and then apply a root killer (that is safe for us) and then seal well. Anyone have experience with this before???? Thanks in advance!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  2. The Paw

    The Paw Well-Known Member

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    I do not have experience with this problem, but i know 2 things:

    1. I would never use any kind of weedkiller near a well I used for drinking water, much less in it.

    2. If you scrape the roots off, they will likely grow back.

    My guess is that diggin on the outside is your best bet. If you go to all the trouble of heavy equipment, maybe you should replace the cement tile with one continuous piece of culvert pipe that will have no seams. Just a thought....
     

  3. deere-cat

    deere-cat Workin hard, playin hard

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    Where are you located? There are hungry backhoe owners (myself included) around here that would do the job for almost nothing. My recommendation is to dig down at least 9 feet (one foot past the joint that is leaking), and seal the joints with mortar, then line the outside with a heavy (6 mil at least) polyethylene sheeting. Seal overlapping joints of sheeting with a high quality acrylic caulk. Put something (styrofoam sheets work well) next to the poly before you backfill, to protect it from ripping, or backfill with sand, instead of the rocks and roots.

    If the joint is waterproof, it should be root-proof. Roots follow moisture, and they won't seek it through plastic sheeting.

    Good luck!
     
  4. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

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    Would it be possible to put in new tiles a little smaller inside the existing ones and then pour concrete in the gap? That seems like it might work
     
  5. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Just destroy the offending plant that is producing the roots!
     
  6. copperkid3

    copperkid3 Well-Known Member

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    Paw has the right idea.......I don't know the size of your tiles, but I'm guessing that they are probably about 5 to 6 inch diameter pipe; perhaps bigger. I would get a piece of sold PVC that will just fit within your tiles that is the correct length.....since it appears that you have a 12 foot deep shallow well......and most sticks of PVC come in that length; problem solved.....insert it down inside of the tile and you should not have any more intrusive/invasive roots......unless they come in at the bottom of the well....in which case, check back here for some more ideas!!! :rolleyes:
     
  7. deere-cat

    deere-cat Workin hard, playin hard

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    Lisa, what diameter are the tiles that make up your cistern? In my previous post, I envisioned three to four feet, because you mentioned sealing them from the inside in the past. Also, the holding capacity of the cistern wouldn't be very big if they were smaller than three feet in diameter.

    If I have a correct picture of your cistern in my mind, another possible solution is to simply replace it with a plastic tank. I've seen these 1500 gallon used water tanks sell for as little as $35.00 at auction.
     
  8. Lisa B.

    Lisa B. Member

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  9. boonieman

    boonieman Well-Known Member

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    My neighbor's cistern (a square one) developed a 4 foot long crack in it at the bottom seam. We chiseled out the length of the crack in a "V" shape so it would hold more concrete and filled the crack with hydraulic cement. It is still holding and that was last year. I don't see why you couldn't do this with your problem. Roots follow water. If you get the seam sealed where it's no longer leaking, the root problem might fix itself.